Biden to sign minimum wage order for federal govt. workers

Contractors are required to pay them at least $15 per hour

U.S. President Joe Biden will sign an executive order on Tuesday raising the hourly wages of federal government contract workers to $15, a step towards fulfilling his campaign pledge to raise the minimum wage to the same level for all employees.

The new order will require “federal contractors to pay a $15 minimum wage to hundreds of thousands of workers who are working on federal contracts,” the White House said.

The current minimum wage is $10.95 an hour for these workers, who are not civil servants but work for the federal government through contracting firms.

“These workers are critical to the functioning of the federal government: from cleaning professionals and maintenance workers… to nursing assistants who care for the nation’s veterans, to cafeteria and other food service workers who ensure military members have healthy and nutritious food to eat, to labourers who build and repair federal infrastructure,” the White House said.

However, they will still have to wait a short while, since the measure will apply only from March 30, 2022 to all new contracts and then gradually to each contract renewal.

Inflation linked

Hourly wages will then be increased each year based on inflation.

The executive order also harmonises the minimum wage for all federal contract workers, removing lower wages for workers who receive tips that bring their salaries up to the minimum wage level, currently at $7.65 per hour.

The White House insisted that the wage hike will not be accompanied by increased cost to the taxpayer, and even said the move will improve productivity and reduce turnover as well as related costs.

And it said the move will ensure that “hundreds of thousands of workers no longer have to work full time and still live in poverty.”

The measure is designed to encourage employers to follow suit.

Raising the minimum wage for all workers in the country to $15 by 2025 from the current $7.25 an hour was one of Mr. Biden’s key campaign pledges.

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